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Japanese vs German knives - which do you prefer?

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    Japanese vs German knives - which do you prefer?

    Which knife style do you prefer?

    I have always used German (Wustoff/Henckel's) knives, specifically Wustoff for my carving and home steak knives, but my parents recently got a Japanese carving set and knife block from Shun. Although the knife quality was extremely high, I found the Japanese carving set to be more unwieldy, almost as if the blade was too sharp to do the job for which it was intended (if that makes sense).

    To be more specific, I was carving a 9# Bone-in Ribeye, and while the knife was sharp, it felt too narrow and the weight behind the blade felt as if it were almost in the tang or handle, as opposed to Wustoff where the blade feels heavy and I feel more able to press down and through a cut. For smaller cutting, such as carving out a turkey, I liked the feel of the Shun, as it's sharpness seemed to cut around small bones and through cartilage very easily. Another con of the Shun carving set from my experience is that the carving knife in the set is large, but not serrated, making initial cuts more difficult.

    Anyway, I didn't see a thread on this topic, and I think that knives are a piece of equipment that can be very important for large-scale grilling and smoking. What do you all think?
    I don't care- as long as it does the job!

    FreeHarold, we had a topic some months ago on the subject with several great viewpoints in it. Not necessarily Japanense vs German blades per se, but some great discussions on knives. Check it out when you get a chance. You can find it here.


      Thanks for the link! Looking forward to reading it.


        I generally don't like/use serrated knives except for cutting bread.


        • FreeHarold
          FreeHarold commented
          Editing a comment
          What knife would you use for carving, say, a 12# bone-in standing rib roast into slices? The best that I have used for carving is (weirdly) the Shun Classic 8" offset bread knife, but the carving set of theirs seems to be unwieldy and ineffective for carving something of that nature. I currently prefer the Wusthof classic carving set, as the weight of the knife is enough to get everything started, with a hard crust or sear on the outside of the roast.

        • Dewesq55
          Dewesq55 commented
          Editing a comment
          Maybe a narrow blade rounded tipped slicer with Kuellenschliff (dimples on the blade). Like this one:


        There are many Shun knife styles, just as there are Wusthofs. I prefer the Shun Classic. I went from Wusthofs to Tojiros to Shuns. No going back for this boy!


          I usually like the German knives the best... but I have my eye on a Japanese ceramic knife, it looks interesting.


            Nothing fancy at my house. I use America's Test Kitchen's ratings winner Victorinox Chef's knife. Also like the Victorinox boning knife.


              I used the same 10" Wustof french knife for over 20 years, both at home and at work. I finally gave it to a dear friend. I got paranoid someone where I worked would steal it. Since that time, I've used both German and Japanese knives. Both work well for their intended purpose. However, there are many good American made knives that work very well,every bit as good as their foreign competition. My current "squeeze" is a 10" Forschner heavy duty french knife. I use this at work for about 90% of my cutting. From chopping cabbage to filleting fish, it does everything I need it to do. My wife liked mine so much, that she purchased one for herself. I have a mid-priced Chicago Cutlery boning knife that I use for removing silver skin on tenderloins, etc. In my experience, the more you know, the less you need. A chef with a new knife is like a carpenter with a new hammer, as everything is a nail. I try to use as few tools as possible, as it keeps one engaged in the cooking processes. In my opinion, it is better to work on your technique, than depend on the vagaries of some tool. You control the tool not vise versa. If a "premium" knife gives you pleasure to use, then use it. Just don't think that your choice in cutlery makes your food "better." It doesn't. You make your food better.


              • HC in SC
                HC in SC commented
                Editing a comment
                The old "does your knife work for you, or are you working for your knife" argument!

              • Dewesq55
                Dewesq55 commented
                Editing a comment
                I find that I use a relatively inexpensive santoku knife for almost everything, actually.

              How about a German (JA Henckels) copy of Japanese style knives?

              We have a Henckels Mikado set and they are great!

              My favorite knife in the set is the Nariki - I use it for durn near everything from cutting vegetable to trimming fat and chopping meat.


                I have a collection - 20 year old Henkel 5 Star set, newer Wusthof carving knife, and the star of the kitchen...a 20 year old single edge Japanese iron knife. A Japanese friend gave me the knife and the branding on it is in Japanese. Super sharp and great feel in the hand.



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